--Shiseido launched "Love the Differences" on April 8, 2018 - the anniversary of the company's founding. What is the origin of this phrase?
Kanegae：We have always released a global corporate ad at New Year, but for 2018, we decided to release it on the anniversary of the company's founding. Accordingly, we decided to return to the definition, "What is beauty?" and the foundation for that was the copy used in the corporate ad for 2017, "The world is full of beauty." For that ad, we expressed the message that beauty is an iconic concept and there is beauty in each individual, while this new message is intended to further build on that.
Starting with the assumption that beauty is a culture shared in common by all humanity, we discussed what Shiseido could do to connect the world through beauty, despite the presence of countless barriers throughout the world. Key words we came up with at the time included "There are no barriers before beauty," "Beauty has no borders," and "Without borders." However, the senses evoked by the words "beauty" and "barrier" are quite different. Some suggest that the message was becoming too socially conscious, so we changed our approach towards finding something more unique to Japan.
--In other words, you began locally, looking within Japan, to create a global message?
Kanegae：Yes. When we began copy writing, we came up with the line "Chigai wo Aisou" (Love Differences). At the time, we considered the concept of diversity. This is commonly translated from the word "tayosei" in Japanese, but they are not entirely the same thing. Diversity has a meaning of first delineating the differences, and then mutually acknowledging them, whereas the meaning of tayosei is to accept differences, respect them, and mutually acknowledge them. As represented by the Japanese concept of "Yaorozu-no-kami" (many gods), Japan has always had an approach to accept things from the outside and respect them. I believe that describes tayosei. The original idea of the current copy was born when we placed that concept at the center. We then had Mike, our global Copy Writer, join us to figure out how to communicate the detailed nuances of tayosei to an international audience.
Mike：It was an interesting process involving a lot of discussion. We shared ideas, exchanged opinions and went back and forth on various proposals.
Kanegae：In order to convey our message correctly in English, we considered every single detail. There were questions of whether we should use capital or lower-case letters, plurals, particles and so on.
Mike：Tiny details... but we spent a lot of time on them [laughing].
Kanegae：Also, at first, the phrase "Love the Differences" was followed by "Hello Beauty". We wanted to say, "This is where beauty is born," but that was a bit naive, or too common of an expression. We also consulted with Mike about that.
Mike：In the end, "Love the Differences" was the most effective way to express exactly what Kanagae-san and his team wanted.
--Mr. Kanegae just explained the difference between the terms diversity and tayosei. Mike, I wonder how you were able to express that difference in your copy.
Mike：There is one aspect to tayosei I find very intriguing - the way it talks of not only accepting differences, but embracing them. I tried to bring this out in the tagline, as well as the other assets we created. Diversity is a sensitive subject, especially overseas. The wrong expression can evoke misunderstanding, and that is something we were well aware of from the start.
--The first time I saw this ad, I could sense your intent - to not only acknowledge diversity, but also to create something new while embracing different values.
Kanegae：One concept we decided to emphasize was to love the differences in order to give rise to new values. That is actually how Shiseido's concept of innovation begins. A coming together of people with diverse values can ultimately lead to a better world, and that is what we wanted to convey.
Mike：Exactly. If we were all the same - came from similar backgrounds, looked the same, thought the same - then the world would be a pretty boring place. We need to celebrate our differences.
--I heard that President Uotani was also involved in "Love the Differences" and introduced the concept in one of his internal messages.
Mike：Uotani-san played a very important role in creating and sharing "Love the Differences".
For the internal messaging, we worked closely with Uotani-san and considered the most effective way of communicating the concept. We also thought long and hard about how we could resonate with and motivate the global Shiseido family. These days, every company talks about diversity. But there is a big difference between simply talking about it and actually putting it into practice. From being involved in this project, I can honestly say that Shiseido care deeply about diversity.
Kanegae：After the message was released on the anniversary of the company's founding, we were contacted from various internal departments, such as those related to CSR and those promoting social actions. They told us they wanted to use the copy to reconsider their own activities. So, the phrase "Love the Differences" has been very well received.
--How would you like to leverage the lessons you learned through this project?
Kanegae：Rather than creating the second iteration of this message, I feel that "Love the Differences" should become the foundation for all of our creative work.
Mike：I agree. I think "Love the Differences" should be the foundation - the platform - for everything we do going forward.